Plyojump - Computer History
Computer History - Networks (1845-present), and The Internet Era (1994-Present)
1991-1993 - The rise of the Web
- The web is NOT the Internet
- The web is just one of 65,535 possible "services" on the Internet - email, online games IMing, are distinct from the web and can run without it
- The web was developed as a way of posting formatted documents online at CERN (a European physics lab)
- The "lab rat" escaped in summer 1993, when University of Illinois grad student Mark Andressen decided to add pictures to web display
A complete history of the web:
Concept map by Tim Berners-Lee for the Web in 1989
Link to the original proposal
Mosaic - the first graphical web browser (1993)
Marc Andressen, who created Mosaic as a summer school project at the University of Illinois in 1993
Netscape - the first commercial browser/dotcom company (1994)
Netscape was co-founded by Marc Andressen and Jim Clark (from Silicon Graphics). Their company pioneered many of the features of a modern Internet company
Ancient web browser downloads - http://browsers.evolt.org/
Milestones in the Early Web
- W3C founded - October 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee
- First CSS Proposal - October 1994
- Microsoft Internet Explorer - August, 1995
- PHP - April, 1996 (as PHP/F1, old syntax)
- Flash - Summer 1996 (as FutureWave before purchased by Macromedia)
The web and the "Dotcom" era (1994-2000)
- The Internet began growing rapidly in 1994 with the appearance of web browsers
- Netscape IPO - 1995
- Apple drops the ball (and almost goes out of business a decade later)
- Hype exploded, matching the Victorian Internet 150 years earlier
Link to Kaleidospace Home Page - Spring, 1994
Kaleidospace (later renamed indiespace.com)
Web pages from the 1990s
Yahoo! in 1996
Hotmail in 1996
See billions of web pages from 1996 and later at http://web.archive.org
Milestones from the late 1990s
- HTML 4 - December 1997
- CSS 2.0 Specification - May 1998
- PHP 3 - June, 1998 (first modern version of PHP)
- Netscape bought by American Online - Dec 1998
- Google founded - September 1998
- XHTML Specification - January 2000
- ActionScript 1.0- September, 2000 in Flash 5
- Internet Explorer 6.0 - August, 2001 (first "modern" IE, still widely used in Asia)
The Browser Wars
Microsoft won the browser wars by licensing versions of Internet Explorer to major Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like America Online (AOL). It also introduced a web editor, FrontPage, which authored HTML according to Microsoft standards.
As part of the browser wars, both companies introduced nonstandard HTML extensions that further fragmented HTML standards. Many of these tags created style changes, are are better replaced by CSS styles.
Deprecated HTML tags (DO NOT USE!)
- <blink> tag - blinks text on and off
- <center> tag - creates "christmas tree" layouts
- <font> tag - specify font style and size
- <dir> tag - list directory
- <strike> tag - strikethrough text
Deprecated HTML tag attributes (mostly used to style HTML tables)
- bgcolor - specify a background color
- valign - caption on table
- dynsrc - used the <img> tag to place audio or video clips
New browser wars?
- Google Chrome dumps "webkit" rendering for "blink" engine (2013)
The Dotcom Crash
The collapse of Internet speculation in 2001-2002 eliminated thousands of websites and business models. Only a few companies survived. As a result, web design stagnated, based around HTML4 with some CSS.
The "Long Winter" of IE6
With the collapse of Netscape in 1999, Internet Explorer became the only significant browser in the market. As late as 2008, IE's market share was over 80%. This led to stasis in web design and numerous sites customized around the "quirks" of IE6, IE7, IE8.
Use of IE quirks also held back progess in another way. Many companies had used quirky features specific to IE6. When newer versions of IE came along, their IT departments prevented upgrades. Since Microsoft did not force browser software upgrades (the standard practice today), in 2008 a large minority of companies continued to use IE6 from 2001, despite Microsoft's attempts to get them to upgrade to IE7 and IE8.
The Flash mob
Because of browser inconsistencies, Macromedia (later Adobe) Flash, a cross-platform way of making interactive and animated "movies" prospered. Many designers used Flash exclusively, almost ignoring HTML and CSS. All-Flash sites often resembled mini-movies, and had quirky and nonstandard interaction. While it gave designers freedom, it often came at a price of usability and accessiblity.
Flash caused two additional problems. Because the Flash movie did not use HTML, its contents could not be read by search engines. And its purely visual nature locked out people with visual disabilities. In time Macromedia, and later Adobe, was sued by disabled rights groups over their exclusion of "differently advantaged" people on the web.
- Steve Jobs says that Flash is no longer necessary
- Disabled students sue over "inaccessible" online Flash-based courseware (2013)
PHP and MySQL form a bond
In the late 1990s, it was extremely difficult to connect a database to a website. In early 2000s, new APIs were added to PHP, which allowed "regular" web developers to create database-driven websites.
The Web returns as a social network - 2004-2013
- Social networks, similar to Facebook, were tried in the 1990s and failed
- Six Degrees
- But after 2004, a new "Millennial" generation which had grown up with the Internet came of age
- "Millennials" understood and used social networks immediately. Both "Myspace" and "Facebook" were launched in 2004, and grew rapidly
These "new dotcoms" - actually made money via sale of user activities to advertisers.
The Web reborn - new technologies and browsers
- Safari Browser 1.0 - January, 2003
- Firefox Browser 1.0 - November, 2004
- Adobe buys Macromedia - April, 2005 (creators of DreamWeaver, Flash)
- iPhone released with HTML5 - January, 2007
- Google Chrome Browser 1.0 - December, 2008
Major players in the "reborn web"
Eric Meyers - CSS "reset"
Ethan Marcotte - Responsive Web Design
Luke Wroblewski - Mobile First
A List Apart - the top blog for web design and development
New web design theories
Progressive Enhancement - start with a universally-accessible design, then enhance for higher-end clients and platforms
Responsive Web Design - create multiple layouts for different screen sizes, and optimize the layout for the user experience with each kind of device
Mobile First - design your mobile site, and derive your desktop site from it, rather than the other way around
The era of the "web app"